Besides the alcohol, snacks and family time I shared over my New Years 4 day holiday, the one thing I was looking forward to seeing was the Sherlock Christmas special. The special was teased months ago and it was to be an appetizer for the real meal that was the next season of Sherlock. The last time we saw Sherlock he was on a plane leaving for a reason I won’t mention, because it would be considered a spoiler. When the news came out that this special would be set in Victorian times to match the period in which Sherlock was originally from, the internet thought it was a just a nice homage and nothing more. Half way through the special you realize that this was not just an ordinary special, but a bridge to the next season made directly for the fans of the show.
Set in the mid 1800’s the story of how John Watson and Sherlock Holmes became roommates, friends and then work partners is told in a very expedited fashion. The audience knows who these people are their meeting looks like a shot for shot remake of the first episode of the first season. This was all done to establish the characters and quickly move along the story, because there wasn’t just one mystery being solved in the special. You are quickly shown each of the characters in the main show take their place as their 1800 counterpart and then the mystery begins. The mystery itself is part revenge and part ghost story, and even though you think that you know it the steps aren’t clear of how it was done. This is why Mycroft tells Sherlock that he has the answer, but he needs Sherlock to do the legwork. The special is constantly breaking the fourth wall, but never actually comes out and says it directly. The first death you see in the special is very reminiscent of Moriarty’s suicide in season 2. That’s not a spoiler, it was a long time ago and you should be ashamed if you haven’t seen it yet. Up until you actually see Moriarty in the special you hear Sherlock slip up and refer to her as him and even see a tag with the words miss me on a body? Sherlock thinks that Moriarty is still alive, but it’s really Sherlock who is taking an old case with similar facts and trying to figure out how Moriarty is still possibly alive. I won’t tell you if he is or isn’t, but there is a 15 minute period where there are nothing but visual metaphors for what happened with Moriarty. At the end you do get some slight closure, with the mystery being solved, but the real mystery is what was written in Mycroft’s notebook and what Sherlock thinks is happening with someone.
The special is 90 minutes of pure fun. Each character you are used to seeing in the show is there and Watson’s stories make a return and is used as a prop for many of the characters not being well represented. All the humor from the show is there and the best scene is always when Sherlock and Moriarty are alone talking. For a second I thought that the special was linking to Guy Ritchies Sherlock movie, but then I realized that the movie was just a retelling of an older story and didn’t tie into the special. There are a lot of visuals you have to look for and even a great scene where Watson questions if Holmes is having his needs taken care of. As I mentioned above, I believe that this was a 30 minute mystery movie surrounded by a lot of content for the fans and I loved it. I can’t wait for the next season to see what the hell everything meant at the end.